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Founder Marc Adler on Macquarium’s sale to Synoptek: ‘It’s a great marriage’

Marc Adler placed in front of the Macquarium building in a composite photo designed by his team (Special: Macquarium)

By Maria Saporta

When he started Macquarium in his Emory dorm room 31 years ago, Marc F. Adler emerged as an entrepreneurial player in Atlanta’s creative technology space.

Macquarium announced on Thursday that it has been sold to Irvine, Calif.-based Synoptek, a business and technology consulting firm. Macquarium will become the Southeast office for Synoptek, focusing on digital customer experiences.

The purchase price was not disclosed.

“Obviously, I did quite well,” Adler said in a telephone interview, adding he had received multiple offers from entities wanting to buy Macquarium and narrowed it down to two.

Marc F. Adler.

“It was the lower price offer,” Adler said. “I took the lesser deal because I think it is a better opportunity for the company. It was really more about what’s best for the employees. The chemistry is really exceptional.”

Over the 31 years since the launch of Macquarium, Adler has received countless inquiries about selling the business, but never considered them.

Then in December, Adler began reflecting on his life. He and his wife, Veronika Fedirko Adler, were new parents to Alexander Fedirko Adler. Adler would be turning 50 in 2022. His parents are both in their 80s and living in Texas, where Adler already had been spending most of his time.

“Four companies wanted to buy Macquarium,” said Adler. “In February, I was still on the fence. I didn’t know if I’m going to do anything. Then Ukraine hit.”

That hit close to home because his wife, Veronika, is from Ukraine. She still has family there, including a brother who is fighting in the war against Russia. The Adlers were able to help get her parents and her sister-in-law out of Ukraine to Poland.

Tim Britt.

“A lot had to do with family,” Adler said of why he decided it was the right time to sell Macquarium. “It was a moment of reflection of where I should be as a father and as a son. You don’t know how many days you have left.”

Adler was drawn to Synoptek for many reasons.

“These guys had a holistic approach,” Adler said. “They were big. And they wanted to keep the team intact. Everything is so complementary. Everyone I met there had been with the company for over a decade.”

Adler, who has a playful and creative approach to marketing and business, also connected with Synoptek’s founder and CEO Tim Britt, who coincidentally, has ties to Atlanta.

“He attended Georgia Tech. His brother lives here. They own a place at Lake Lanier,” said Adler, adding that Britt comes to town on a regular basis. “He loves the city. He was looking for the right opportunity.”

Adler has been an active community player, even though he’s lived here part-time because his home is in Houston, and he has several other business ventures. Adler has been a member of the Rotary Club of Atlanta for 25 years, and for much of that time, he was the youngest Rotarian member.

The 150,000 square-foot Macquarium building on Peachtree has become a gathering place. (Special: Macquarium.)

He’s been active with the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival, which screens movies in the Macquarium building — a place several civic organizations have called home.

“I’m still going to be doing things in the community,” said Adler, who built an auditorium in the Macquarium building and opened it up to the community. “It’s been a great melting pot. We decided to make this a community thing where we can all gather. It’s been great.”

The Macquarium building was not included in the sale partly because Synoptek has not invested in real estate. Adler is not certain what he will do with the 150,000-square-foot Macquarium building, which sits on 3.5 acres of real estate on Peachtree.

“My dad told me, never fall in love with the inventory, and everything is inventory,” said Adler, who bought the building on the last day of 1996 and moved his company there in mid-1997.

Adler still is proud of the Macquarium brand, which he named before he took a marketing and branding class at Emory.

How did that name come about? He had an old Macintosh clam-shell computer when he was going to school at Emory. He gutted it, and he turned it into an aquarium — hence the Macquarium name.

Demonstrating his playful personality, Marc Adler called then-President “Donald Trump” to help Adler introduce Yoel Levi at a Rotary meeting in March 2020. (Photo by Maria Saporta.)

“Macquarium has long been one of the preeminent companies in the industry with exceptional talent and a visionary approach,” Britt said in a statement. “We are delighted to complement our capabilities with theirs. The unification of our teams will allow us to reach new heights for our customers.”

The combined company will have 13 offices in three countries with about 1,000 employees and 1,200 clients.

“I think it’s a great marriage,” Adler said. “They are going to continue the Macquarium brand, which has a lot of value. “They kept everybody on the team, and they have already hired additional staff.”

When asked about his future role with the company, Adler said he wants to help make sure Synoptek will be involved in the community.

“I’m a community guy,” Adler said. “I will work with them in an advisory capacity. But it’s their company now.”

Note to readers: A few years ago, Macquarium, in one of its many altruistic community partnerships, led the redesign of SaportaReport.com, an amazing contribution to our website. We will be forever indebted to Marc Adler and his team.

Maria Saporta

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.


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